MILWAUKEE — This was one of those games that the Brewers didn’t deserve to win. But if you want to get technical, the Cleveland Indians deserved to win it even less.
It was both American Legion Day and Wisconsin Tavern League Day, and in the bottom of the first inning the Indians would play defense like a bunch of drunk teenagers. But we’ll get to that.
With one down in the top of the first, Toby Harrah and Mike Hargrove hit back-to-back home runs off of Brewers starter Mike Caldwell to give the Indians an early 2-0 lead. The Indians had already hit six home runs off of the Brewers in two-plus games while “Harvey’s Wallbangers” had yet to hit one. It didn’t look good.
But then one of the most ridiculous half innings in recent memory happened. After Gorman Thomas singled in Paul Molitor to make it a 2-1 game, Ben Oglivie hit a liner right at second baseman Larry Milbourne with Robin Yount at third and Thomas at first. Thomas ventured a little too far off of first, and Milbourne fired over in an attempt to turn the inning ending double play. Instead…
What happened next could easily be written in the longest run-on sentence in the history of the English language. But instead, I’ll break it down as succinctly as possible:
1) Milbourne’s throw sailed wide and off of Hargrove’s glove at first.
2) Hargrove and Thomas collided and fell to the ground.
3) Yount took off for home plate.
4) Hargrove de-tangled himself from Gorman Thomas, picked up the ball and fired it home. That ball sailed over a divin Robin Yount and catcher Chris Bando‘s glove.
5) Thomas took off for second, and when the Indians were slow to track down the errant throw, he headed for third.
6) Bando found the ball, fired towards third base and into left field.
7) Gorman Thomas scored.
Three errors on one play that led to two runs. It was a play you’ll typically only see in youth league baseball.
While it was a lead the Brewers would not relinquish, the win could ultimately be attributed to their pitching. The only additional run scored in this game was on a Gorman Thomas double play ball in the third. After a shaky first inning in which he allowed two runs on three hits, Mike Caldwell settled down to dominate the Indians through the eighth. He’d shut out Cleveland for the next seven innings, allowing only two hits. Then Rollie Fingers took the mound to throw a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.
The win moved the Brewers back into first place, a half game ahead of the Boston Red Sox, who fell 7-5 to the White Sox.